Destination UK

A visit to the beautiful town of Shaftesbury

Posted on
October 1, 2019

Living in Dorset, we are spoiled with the Jurassic Coast on our doorstep, but we always neglect visiting the north of the county.

When dropping Kian back at university in Bristol, I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to visit Shaftesbury and the famous Gold Hill.

Shaftesbury is a small market town in Dorset with a fascinating history going back to Saxon times, but has since found fame as the home of “that Hovis ad”.


We parked in the main town car park and set off to explore.

You can find Gold Hill on the main High Street, but blink and you will miss the alley way to get to it – you can find it between the church and the Town Hall pictured above.

Gold Hill offers a real “WOW” factor, as not only are the buildings stunning, but it offers unrivalled views over Thomas Hardy’s Blackmore Vale.

The view from the bottom of the hill doesn’t have the same impact, but it is worth wandering down to take in the view.

At the top of Gold Hill is the Salt Cellar Cafe, which serves a delicious range of snacks and cakes, all served with the benefit of the gorgeous view.

Behind the church is the Gold Hill Museum, a free to enter small museum dedicated to the town of Shaftesbury and its vibrant history.


The museum is set in two historic buildings. One was once the priest’s house and still has a “squint” through the wall to St Peter’s church; the other provided basic lodgings for traders at the market on Gold Hill.

There are eight galleries in total, which tell the story of rural and town life, starting before Shaftesbury’s notional foundation by Alfred the Great.

It is full of fascinating exhibits and facts about the town, including the bike from the Hovis advert and I am looking forward to taking the kids back for a visit soon.

Shaftesbury is also home to Shaftesbury Abbey and Gardens, built by King Alfred in around 888 and was the first religious house solely for women.

Sadly we didn’t have time to head inside, as we had to get back to pick the kids up from school, but we are planning on heading back very soon to take on the ancient tree walk and find out more of the towns history.

Shaftesbury is a lovely small town to visit, with a market and lots of local artisan shops. We will certainly be visiting again!

Have you been to Shaftesbury?

  1. Reply

    Laura Dove

    October 3, 2019

    Oh how gorgeous! I’ve never been before but I love towns like this you can wander round and just spend a few hours “mooching” as my Mum would say! Lovely photos!

  2. Reply

    Kacie Morgan

    October 3, 2019

    I love the look of the Gold Hill Museum. I love visiting places that make you feel like you’ve taken a trip back through time.

  3. Reply


    October 3, 2019

    I have never been but now I really want to. I love picturesque towns like this. There is always so much beauty and wonderment to explore x

  4. Reply

    Brianne Tursi Manz

    October 3, 2019

    My daughter and I just came back from a trip to London, and we want to come back again with the whole family. I would love for us to go to Shaftesbury.

  5. Reply

    Ali Rost

    October 4, 2019

    My goodness, Shaftesbury is dreamy! I’m such a sucker for old stone buildings and it looks like the leaves were just starting to turn. The pretty colors of fall make everything more magical. So fun to read about your visit. xx

  6. Reply


    October 4, 2019

    What a lovely town. It is so beautiful. I would love to explore it one day. Looks full of history.

  7. Reply

    Rebecca Smith

    October 4, 2019

    Shaftesbury looks like a wonderful place to visit. I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting myself…yet!

  8. Reply

    Rhian westbury

    October 4, 2019

    I’ve never been to Shaftsbury but it sounds like a nice little place you can stop off on to enjoy the views and sights x

  9. Reply

    Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too

    October 5, 2019

    A beautiful place to visit, I have to confess that I didn’t know about the links to the Hovis ad

  10. Reply

    Sarah Howe

    October 7, 2019

    Ah you picked a gorgeous sunny day for visiting a beautiful place! It looks so old and quaint!!

  11. Reply

    Laura Schwormstedt

    October 9, 2019

    Oh wow what a gorgeous village to explore, this place is going on the list!! Also your lunch looked perfection
    Laura x

  12. Reply


    October 13, 2019

    Looks as quaint as the beginning of Beauty and The Beast!

  13. Reply


    October 13, 2019

    We’ve never been but we really do need to go. Looks like such a lovely place to visit!

Leave a Reply


Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog